COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Saint Leo baseball team battled their opponents and the elements, and ultimately both proved to be tough adversaries as the Lions dropped both ends of a doubleheader to #9 Columbus State by 3-1 and 5-3 final scores on a frigid and blustery Saturday afternoon.
Faced by elements including a stiff 20 mph wind and temperatures hovering around the mid-40s, the Saint Leo (4-2) pitching staff did an admirable job in both games, despite the losses. Starting pitchers Aaron Brandt and Charles Neely took the Lions into the fifth inning of both games with the Lions either leading or tied, but it would be the Saint Leo gloves that were frozen by the cold. Combined, the Lions would commit seven errors, six more than their hosts.
"It was just one of those days where the weather was such a factor with the wind. Offensively I thought we had a great day, but the difference in the doubleheader was that they dominated the routine play and I told our guys we didn't, and that was the difference in the game," Head Coach Russ McNickle said. "I thought we swung the bat well, I thought we pitched extremely well, but in games with weather like it is, you've got to make the routine play and we didn't do that today."
The first game saw Brandt (1-1) holding the nation's ninth-ranked team scoreless, but the Cougars would tip the scales in their favor during a three-run sixth inning. It would be Brandt's final frame, and the Lions would not be able to respond in the final nine outs.
Game two saw Columbus State (5-0) jump out to an early 3-1 lead, but the Lions would respond with single runs in the second and third to knot the score. Another multi-run frame in the fifth would doom the Green and Gold as two miscues helped CSU score twice and chase Neely (1-1) from the game. It was a margin Columbus State would again hang on to for the final six outs.
Compared to the first four games, where the Lions averaged 16 hits per nine innings, the Lions were held to just 11 total hits across 16 frames as they dealt with the wind the entire day. Their opponents, dealing with the same conditions, proved equally as frustrated with just two more hits than Saint Leo.
Daniel Torres was the most consistent Lion across both games as he went a combined 3-for-5 with an RBI.
The Lions will look to take at least one game back home when they face Columbus State on Sunday in the series' finale. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Ragsdale Field on the CSU campus. For the latest news, information, and updates on Lions' Baseball, visit SaintLeoLions.com.